Raymond Moreland 1919-2013: Former Affiliated Foods CEO dies at 93
BY TIM STANLEY World Staff Writer
Sunday, February 10, 2013
2/10/13 at 3:05 AM
For Raymond Moreland, delivering groceries was originally just a way to help support his family during the Depression.
But sticking with it through his years at Tulsa Central High School, he would eventually come to see in groceries much longer term possibilities.
When several independent grocers got together to found a cooperative in Tulsa in 1939, the former delivery boy became the new enterprise's second employee - a bookkeeper.
From there, Moreland's rise would pretty much mirror that of his employer.
When he finally retired from what had become Affiliated Foods Inc. - one of the nation's largest cooperative grocers groups - he did so as the company's president and chief executive officer.
Raymond Moreland, who retired in 1992 after 53 years with Affiliated, died Feb. 4. He was 93.
A memorial service was held Thursday at Rose Hill Mausoleum Chapel. Moore's Rosewood Funeral Home handled arrangements.
Having been with Affiliated from its start when 10 Tulsa independent grocers banded together to better compete with the growing chain stores, Moreland knew the industry's history as well as anyone.
"In '39, anyone with $100 could go into the grocery business. It is totally different today," he told the Tulsa World in 1989.
At one time every small town in Oklahoma had an independent grocer. Affiliated, which maintained a warehouse complex in Tulsa, served them all and later added convenience stores.
But Moreland also knew that trends did not favor the independents.
When Affiliated left Tulsa in 1999 after nearly 60 years, consolidating operations into an Abilene, Texas, satellite office, Moreland was not surprised, family members say.
"He'd seen it coming, I think," said his daughter Debra Curtis.
Still, he was sorry. After all, he had "worked in every aspect of Affiliated as it grew in Tulsa," Curtis added. "Stocking the warehouse, deliveries, he had done it all. When they'd add a new department, he'd head it."
A native of Bluejacket who grew up in Tulsa, Moreland had a big responsibility thrust on him at a young age after his father died when he was 12.
He was looking for opportunities to help support the family when he began to "get on his bike, go around to the stores and buy their 2-day-old bread. Then he'd sell it door to door," Curtis said.
That led to deliveries and other jobs at the stores.
Graduating from Central High School in 1937 and later the Oklahoma School of Accountancy, Moreland started with Affiliated as a bookkeeper, one of only two employees initially, before others were added over the next few months.
He went on to hold various management positions with the company before succeeding founder Mike Robinowitz as president in 1974.
Curtis said people used to ask her father why he didn't leave and open his own store.
"The retail side was just never his thing," she said. "Dad took his greatest pride in being able to help other people have their own businesses. That's what he was about."
Moreland was preceded in death by a son and two siblings.
Survivors include his wife, Vivian Moreland; three daughters, Alice Flowers, Debra Curtis and Dora Durland; three grandchildren; and one great-grandson.
Original Print Headline: CEO of grocers group got start as bread salesman
Tim Stanley 918-581-8385
He worked "in every aspect of Affiliated as it grew in Tulsa," said his daughter Debra Curtis. "Stocking the warehouse, deliveries, he had done it all. When they'd add a new department, he'd head it."